November 26th, 2010
07:21 PM ET

Thefts, stampedes make Black Friday blue for some

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Call it a case of consumerism bringing out the worst in people.

Three women in West Palm Beach, Florida, say $1,000 worth of Best Buy merchandise was stolen from their car Friday morning within minutes of being purchased, according to CNN affiliate WPBF.

The women were the first people at Best Buy after camping out since Wednesday night.

After they made their purchases, they put them in the car and went to JC Penney. A few minutes later, they returned, and the goods were gone.

"I mean, we've been camping since Wednesday," a tearful Shereece Francis told WPBF. "Just cruel, just wicked."

The women weren't the only ones to experience Black Friday car troubles.

At least 10 shoppers in St. Louis, Missouri, left Best Buy to find that their cars had been towed, CNN affiliate KSDK reports.

The customers had parked in a lot adjacent to Best Buy belonging to a T-Mobile store. They told KSDK there were no signs saying parking was for T-Mobile customers only, just a small, upside down sign from "Bulldog Towing" warning about abandoned or illegally parked cars.

Now, those customers are out $335.

"We're going to have to return our gifts that we bought on Black Friday just to get the car from tow," said Lavorn Ford, who had purchased a Playstation 3 for his son. "It's frustrating because you get up early in the morning to get your kids stuff for Christmas and then this stuff happens. "

A T-Mobile store manager said the store needed the parking lot when it opened at 7 a.m.

"Our lot was full by 4 and then again by 6, so we would have opened up our business and not had any spots," store manager Brian Fisher said.

It seems that some people will go to extreme lengths in the name of their children. A Wisconsin woman who cut in front of a long line of Black Friday shoppers was arrested, police say, after she allegedly threatened to shoot those she moved ahead of.

"I just wanted to get my daughter the toy that she wanted for Christmas, which probably won't be there when I go today," Lanessa L. Lattimore, 21, told CNN.

Lattimore attempted to cut in front of a line of "several hundred shoppers" at a Toys R Us store in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday, according to a police report. Lattimore admitted there had been a confrontation in the line but disputed the details.

"Everybody was cutting in line. But there was one girl who was threatening me, so I told her that I'd shoot her," Lattimore told CNN. "I'm not a violent person, but police charged me with disorderly conduct."

Several eager shoppers were trampled Friday morning as they surged through Target store doors in North Buffalo, New York.

CNN affiliate WIVB had a camera inside the Target and captured the drama. People at the front of the line were pushed to the floor when doors opened. The commotion and screams drew additional store staff to sort the crowd out. 

"It went from controlled to a mob in less than five minutes," shopper Rich Mathewson told WIVB. "And then it just got nasty."

Several people had cut into the line, angering the crowd, Mathewson said.

Unruly Wal-Mart shoppers in Sacramento, California, prompted an evacuation of the store, affiliate KTXL reported.

Just after the store opened its doors at 5 a.m., customers became pushy and unruly.

Sacramento Sheriff's officers were called in to help clear the store and everyone was ordered to leave their carts in the store and exit. Once everyone outside calmed down, shoppers were allowed back in to finish their shopping, according to KTXL.

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Filed under: Crime • Holidays
soundoff (1,197 Responses)
  1. Rhiannon

    Amazing; Thanksgiving is to precious to waste at the the stores or malls.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. A Mother

    I am not going to go through all the post, they are so negative! Did you stop to think that the some of the people out there cant afford a full price Christmas? Yes Jesus is the reason for the season and stuff is not important but have those of you that are saying this ever been a child who woke up to nothing under your tree? Or worse, been a parent who couldn't afford the gifts your children want? If standing in a line for hours waiting to stretch your money out a little further than normal is considered greed there really is a problem here. My children are blessed with an amazing extended family who are getting them the gift they really wanted, an xbox. The only way I could afford to get them a game to go with it was to go stand in the cold pouring rain and be one of the lucky few to win one at Old Navy. They got the coats they needed at a great price and a gift they will love. If spending a few miserable hours in then cold while they sleep soundly helps them in anyway I will gladly do it.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      To "A Mother"...My mom couldn't afford it. Taught us to live within our means. Taught us to save for the things we wanted and that Christmas wasn't about gift-giving. Know what? We all loved her anyway. Yes, I've been disappointed at Christmas but because my Dad was in Vietnam, not because I didn't have an expensive toy under the tree.

      November 26, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Mother

      Trust me they live within our means. infact most of the food they eat we grow and they proudly wear hand me downs. My son has done chores to save money to get an x box and helps me do photo shoots to earn a little extra money. He has worked hard and saved his money and has $119.00 saved up so far but he wanted to use his money to but his little brother a nintendo ds because he played with someone elses and loved it. This is a Christmas treat. Had we not won the game they still would have had the much need coats at a very reasonable price.

      November 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • rachel

      You should be proud of yourself; it sounds like you are raising good kids considering that one would spend his saved money on his sibling. I would guess that a lot of the posters who are giving these people a hard time are either not moms, or have enough money to buy gifts without sale prices. Happy holidays.

      November 27, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. D

    After working in retail for a few years I started calling this the "madness season".

    November 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Dude

    To bad you are just people and not corporations or really rich, maybe then someone would give a poo.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Crystal Gayle

    Don't it make my black friday blue...

    November 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. appalled

    This is so sad! These people waited all that time and had all their things stolen. So what if its not something you would do, these people weren't doing anything wrong but shopping at an unusual time. Why is it that people on here think they had it coming? No one deserves to get things taken from them that they PAYED for. If it was you, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have the same responses. What's really wrong with America is that we have lost the sense of brotherhood. It is still present in my community, but by the looks of the comments its not in the rest of America. I really cannot believe I couldn't find one sympathizing comment about this story.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Mother

      I agree.

      November 26, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Realist

      Why did they have it coming? They had it coming bc they are too un-bright to realize that there are people hanging out in those lots waiting for some ignorant, oblivious person to put thousands of dollars in the "safety" of their car while they return to shop. That is just plain stupid. Makes about as much sense as hitting the atm in the ghetto at 3am. Doing either one is simply asking for trouble.

      November 26, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anastasia


      November 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pacman

      Those people were stupid. Bad economic times.... Get a clue. You buy your stuff and a. Go home or B. Have someone wait in the car...

      November 26, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Thank you "appalled". Some people just dont get it.

      November 27, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • NilstheNihilist

      Hey genius, if americans had any sense of "brotherhood," they wouldn't stampede each other to get the cheapest plastic crap produced by children, slaves, and oppressed people from China faster than everyone else. What's amazing is that the karma surely created by this repulsive, selfish sh@#storm of capitalism doesn't cause planet earth to be hurled into the sun.

      November 27, 2010 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Pyrotech

      Merry Christmas!

      November 27, 2010 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • LR

      To appalled: It is sad that some mean, selfish, and cheap people stole from these innocent shoppers. However, life is unfair and there are bad people in the world PERIOD. These women were not being smart or cautious at all. Whenever I leave my car I take anything that is vauable out of it. If something IS valuable I do not just move it to the trunk because I consider that some theif could be watching me and waiting for an opportune moment. Some might say that is a little dramatic to take those precautions, but in this case it was not. Those ladies should have considered the fact that they were carrying about $1,000 worth of merchandise and carelessly placing it in an unattended vehicle. It's called common sense. Yes, it may be a pain to drag around huge and heavy bags all day. Although, I'm sure now the pain and annoyance would have been worth it.

      November 27, 2010 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      You sound like you need a massage.

      November 27, 2010 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      A Realist: when you write that they 'had it coming' - do you mean they actually deserved it, simply because they were to incautious? Does that mean anyone who drives without a seatbelt on deserves to die in an accident? Or that people who stop to help a car in trouble deserve to be victims of car-jacking and/or murder?

      Just because someone makes a security mistake does not mean they deserve to suffer. It means that they, like basically everyone else in the world at one time or other, did not fully realize the risks they were facing. If you really think they had it coming, you are seriously messed up in the head...

      November 27, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Lol

      Sounds like it called "Black" Friday for good reasons........

      November 27, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • eville ed

      Lemmimgs with cash, zombie shoppers and vultures in the parking lots...
      there are no humans on the streets on BF.

      November 27, 2010 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeyNYC

      I've been trying to keep the vomit from rising in my throat while reading such pathetic nonsense. For an American, not getting the right toy for your child for Christmas is a terrible problem! Getting robbed of your extra money to buy toys is an American's idea of horror! The pathetic, selfishness and self-centered ignorance of americans is monumental. People all over the world have REAL problems, like having their government kill them if they dissent or being tossed into prison for a few off-the-cuff remarks. REsidents of whole cities and villages being murdered because of their faith or their political affiliation! Instead of taking your money and buying yet another useless piece of junk for your child, send it to an organization that actually try to HELP others.

      November 27, 2010 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
    • mark

      how about giving them a book about being nice and not just thinking about you kid

      November 27, 2010 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary Ann

      Maybe not that extreme but they just shows why we are in such trouble, Greed, Greed, Greed. The kids will not die without that gift. It is the parents who want the gift. If your kid has a bad Christmas because of one toy you are doing something wrong. Black Friday should be canceled it only hurts people and promotes the greed that has gotten us in this money trouble we are in. How many people have credit card dept, big time, because they need all the toys.

      November 27, 2010 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      If I'd waited two days to buy something for $1,000, I'd be driving it straight home and making absolutely SURE it was safe before doing anything else. Even if it meant losing that great parking spot or that great deal at Penneys. No, they didn't deserve to have their stuff stolen, but it was something they could have easily prevented if they'd just used their heads. As someone else pointed out, one of the big warnings trumpeted every year about now is: NEVER leave valuable stuff in your car when doing your Christmas shopping!

      November 27, 2010 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
    • opining

      Tent and sleeping bag, one hundred dollars. Sandwiches and sodas, twenty dollars
      X-rays and treatment of chipped orbital bone , four thousand dollars
      being first to the plasma .... Priceless

      November 27, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Matilda

      I am appalled that you think this story even deserves a SHRED of sympathy. Self inflicted gluttounous behavior, that we as consumers are so blinded by. Filling voids with CRAP for the holidays. I will SYMPATHIZE with a humans that are actually suffering. This is self induced madness. Sympathy. Wow.

      November 27, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. Evat

    Black Friday can be a great thing when properly organized, although we never hear about how it benifits people because the media only cares about people being robbed, threatened, and trampled. Try not to forget about all the people who are saving hundreds of dollars.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Non Sequitur

      Yeah. That's what the federal government does. "Save money" spending it like a drunken sailor. There's only one way people can save hundreds of dollars. Camping in front of a store so you can be the first to spend money you don't have on things you don't need isn't it.

      November 27, 2010 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. dismayed

    Are these people poverty stricken and starving and they're offering a free meal inside the store? Is their child sick and the cure is inside those doors? No, they are after plastic crap that is not essential to survival. Your kid DOES NOT NEED A PS3, pick up a few good books and read to them or use the time you spent camping outside of Best Buy to go on a fun outdoor outing. You are not doing them any favors by buying them video games. They will thank you in the future when they complete grade school with A's and without being diagnosed with ADD.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TImo

      Here here!

      November 26, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pacman


      November 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ProudGamer

      LOL Ignorant people that think all video games are bad or evil! How do you know this guy's kid wasn't making straight A's or even how old he was. To think that video games cause ADD? LMAO! You're way off your rocker...let me guess you're over the age 35-40?

      November 27, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • CheleViajero

      @Proudgamer over 35-40? You mean old enough to know better?

      November 27, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      well who said that they were taking a video game system. it could have been a DVD player or anything else at that matter that the PARENT wanted for themselves.
      Also ADD basically means you don't pay attention well. if a kid doesn't want to do homework but they spend 8 hours playing games that doesn't mean he has ADD. If they did they wouldn't be able to do anything for more than 5 minutes maybe more or less depending on the severity

      November 27, 2010 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • joe317

      My 14 year old son makes straight A's and plays videogames. He doesn't have ADD. One thing he does have is an excellent talent for guitar. Guess what got him interested? Guitar Hero. Also, I spend more quality time with my kids having fun playing video games than most of you holier than thou's out there do with your kids. Videogames aren't to blame. Out of touch parents that try to force their interests on their kids rather than take an interest in what keeps a kid's interest is a problem, though. And so are the parents that just use videogames to keep the kids out of their hair. If they showed more interest, then we'd have fewer problems out of kids.

      November 27, 2010 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • NC Mom

      Yes, I agree that books are better for your kids than video games. But if you think that's the cause of ADD or ADHD you obviously don't know you're talking about. ADD/ADHD are genetic and chemical disorders that are passed down. My parents, my son and myself all had/have ADD/ADHD, and I assure you it didn't come from TV when my Father didn't own a tv as a child and my walls were lined with books.

      November 27, 2010 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      dismayed: unless you are prepared to raise everybody's kids yourself, do not preach your own brand of the 'right' way to raise kids. My daughter learned to read two years earlier than the school system's guidelines, due in part to educational computer games.

      And even if these people bought 'frivolous' games for their kids, so what? Did you ever have a non-educational, non-practical toy as a kid? I sure did, and I am a better adult for it. Kids who are completely absorbed in video games for too many hours are *probably* worse off for it, but you have no idea whether that is the case with these people and their kids.

      You simply noted the name of the store, perhaps the name of one item purchased, and immediately jumped to the unwarranted and illogical conclusion that the parents were bad.

      Of course, you might in fact be an expert in childhood development, with several books and research articles to your name. If so, you should have alluded to that fact - as it is, you sound like a know-nothing busybody.

      November 27, 2010 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
    • opining

      Dare I suggest "Black Friday" The video game?. Your avatar is full of avarice as the walmart doors swing open. Timing your entry is crucial if you want to avoid being crushed. Inside, be first to the PS3 for bonus credits. Guns come into play as demand outstrips supply. Will you be killed for a kindle? Can you spend all of your credits and get back to the parking lot before thieves raid it?

      Eventually it'll be a film franchise. A disaster. Can't you see the characters? The poor but loving parent determined to get a deal on the gift that will cheer their (sick) kid. The walmart greeter who dies saving a baby. The parking lot thief who is stealing the gifts to give to his own (sick) kid. The ambulance attendant who finds her fiancee among the trampled. Then of course "Black Friday 2"- thankstaking-

      November 27, 2010 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jess

    What ashame! Some of the comments are extremely rude and racist .. This world makes me so sad...

    November 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • kris

      No dear...don't be sad...these moronic comments are just comedy relief...they are so stupid, one has no other choice than to laugh hysterically at that stupidy. One wonders what these ignoramuses do all day...LOL!

      November 26, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mkmasin

      Sorry but never saw a word or reference to what race, creed or anything else. You are the racist!

      November 26, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pacman

      You sound like Jesse Jackson or al sharpton trying to make every issue a race issue so they can stay employed

      November 27, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      I am so sick of everyone playing the race card I could scream!

      November 27, 2010 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Audrey

    Did they deserve to have their merchandise stolen? No. Should they have known better than to leave merchandise visible in their cars? Yes. Police warn people about this every single year. Put the merchandise out of site, in the trunk. Then move your car. It's the only way to foil parking lot thieves.

    Personally, I can't imagine camping out to buy a particular item for Christmas. If it's going to be that hard to obtain, we'll save it for a birthday or something, and get something else for Christmas. News flash, won't kill your kids if they don't get everything they want for Christmas.

    Heck, Santa, I'm 49 and still waiting for that pony!

    November 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • liz58736

      But the pony bites...and it hurts 😉

      November 27, 2010 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jean-Claude

    I think Black Friday shoppers should be required to show up at 3 A.M. wearing protective gear like combat boots, helmets, and bulletproof vests (which, if necessary, the retail outlets could rent to them for the occasion). Oh, I have an even better idea – let shoppers order the crap online at the same price and have it delivered safely to little Johnnie at home.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      "let shoppers order the crap online at the same price and have it delivered safely to little Johnnie at home."

      That is already happening, but some people still choose to line up early in the morning. Rather than camping out since last night, I got up at 9am and got all my stuff online.

      November 26, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Jean-Claude: many stores offer specials only available to those who come in person. Walmart, for example, sold 32" TV's for $198, but only to those who were there at 5 am. If you wanted that deal, online was not a good choice.

      (Incidentally, I did not go - I thought about it, but I wanted the extra sleep more than the TV.)

      November 27, 2010 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • opining

      How can they shop on line when they can't get the laptop home from the store?

      November 27, 2010 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. matt

    haters be hatin'

    November 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jeff

    I haven't shopped in a retail store for Christmas in YEARS. Ebay and mail order gets my holiday dollars. No crowded stores, long lines or assinine people to deal with. Stories like this make me glad I shunned malls and superstores for a more sane, logical way to shop.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MK-

    I simply can NOT feel bad for these people. Does it suck that your stuff got jacked? Yep – in exactly the same way it probably sucks to get gored at the Running of the Bulls, I suspect. But just like those who find themselves stuck up to their aortas on the business end of a bull, people who buy into this ridiculous notion of 'black friday' and choose to participate in it have nobody to blame for their loss of life, limb, or Xbox but themselves. YOU have set yourself up for this type of loss. Your predictable behavior is what invited the thieves! The good news is that, coming from Best Buy, it was probably worthless crap you didn't need anyway! The person/s who took the stuff out of your car isn't any worse than the thieves who duped you into parting with your money in exchange for a new TV (or whatever) in the first place. It doesn't matter if someone is stealing your money or if you're just throwing it away – either way you end up broke. Why cry now over something you have (effectively) done to yourself? *This is your cue to start blaming society.*

    November 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eumir

      The true root of the problem is greed.
      But let us not look at that.
      Might take too long.
      And... Christmas would be over.

      November 26, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Erin

    Sleeping in tents outside a Wal-Mart, robbed, trampled, arrested...and they could have just stayed home and found the same deals online. Darwinism rears it's head yet again.

    November 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michele

      People are stupid to trust that their shopping bags wouldn't attract theives! Stupid is as stupid does!

      November 27, 2010 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Deb


      November 27, 2010 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
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